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Antonio Aakeel

Wolverhampton to Hollywood

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Antonio Aakeel is a name you will be seeing a lot more of in the next few years.

Having already starred in such multi-award winning television shows such as Skins and BBC’s Doctors, His eyes are now set on the big screen having recently starred alongside such acting talents as Dr Who Companion, Billie Piper and Nightcrawler and Four Lions star, Riz Ahmed in Bafta winner, Pete Travis’ newest feature, City of Tiny Lights.img_1052

City of Tiny Lights is a neo-noir film set in the multifaceted London, going from seedy burrows to a mosque it has been praised in portraying the multi0cultarism of London and not meticulously following the typical noir location setups.

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No Opportunities For The Working Class

“There’s no doubt that a lot of work goes through the capital, but I definitely think there’s more work now, more than ever, in Birmingham taking place, We had Spielberg recently, Kingsman was filmed here too…”

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There has always been a certain taboo aspect over the discussion of working class people’s ability to “make it” in the film industry. Many successful actors who stem from working class families have even come out to say the industry itself is very discriminatory to “poorer” people.

Actor, David Morrissey has stated;

“I got lucky, but if I was starting out now, it would be a lot harder, because my parents could never have supported me through that ‘Is it going to happen?’ period”

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Aakeel’s Rise

Wolverhampton-born Aakeel was inspired to pursue acting after performing in Holyhead Primary School’s Christmas play before proceeding to take acting lessons Birmingham as he grew up.

He went on to land a small role in popular E4 show Skins, securing the part after auditioning against 500 other young hopefuls.

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“I wish I’d have been taught to trust myself a little bit more, at the beginning, because you’re always doubting yourself as an actor, you’re always thinking did I hit the mark? Did I do it right? Did I do it justice? You’re always filled with self-doubt…”

In Travis’ new feature he plays the younger version of ‘Lovely’ played by James Floyd, who has films such as multi-award winning My Brother The Devil under his belt.

Antonio Aakeel

City of Tiny Lights is produced by the BBC and the BFI and began filming in April 2015. With a killer score from Harry Brown composer, Ruth Barrett, this film will surely gather acclaim from both viewers and critics alike. It is due to be released internationally in late 2016.

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Are there any British films you’re looking forward to seeing? Do you think more needs to be done for midlands based talent? Let us know in the comment section down below and be sure to subscribe to our mailing list!

Photography by Will Pace.

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